Tag Archives: work

Philadelphia Fun

I was in Philly last week/weekend for work.   As always, it was a lot of WORK… but I managed to squeeze in some fun.  

Some things on my to-do list:

1. Run the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art–check!

I ran the mile and a half from my hotel to the steps… and then ALL the way to the top… it was quite a feat.   I even had the Rocky theme song playing as I ran up the steps.   A nice man who was in town for the English teacher convention (i.e. OUR convention) took this picture.   It’s a little embarrassing, but I was sooooo happy to have “proof.”

Afterwards, I tried running back to my hotel… and got lost (shocker!).   I probably got an extra 2 miles of running in + an extra 3 or 4 walking.   Navigational FAIL!

2.  See the Liberty Bell–check!

Through glass.  At night.  It wasn’t that impressive.   But I got one viable photo:

3.  Sample an authentic Philly cheesesteak– check!

You’ve probably heard of the famous rivalry between Genos and Pat’s– two steak stands in South Philly who vie for the title of “best” cheesesteak.    After our work was done, a colleague and I took a cab to sample the goods.  She got a *very* plain sandwich–steak and provolone only–from Genos and I got a pepper steak “with” + Whiz from Pat’s (that’s cheesesteak lingo for a cheesesteak with peppers and onions and, yes, Cheese Whiz).     Mine was better.  Not only did mine have the delicious goodness of the peppers, onions, and cheese whiz, the meat and bread of mine was tastier.  Pat’s wins… hands down.

Geno's on the left, Pat's on the right

 4.  Participate in the Philadelphia Marathon– FAIL (sorta!)

I had originally planned on running the 8K as part of the Philly marathon, but it sold out too quickly.  Then I thought about going down and spectating the beginning of the race.  But it was entirely too crazy down there.    I did, however, “crash” the marathon expo… and bought a couple of  shirts (one of which I’m wearing in my Rocky picture… it says “Will Run for Beer,” but you really can’t read it). Spending money counts as supporting the running community, right?  :)

entrance to the Philly Marathon expo--literally steps from our own exhibit hall entrance!

I also shared many dinners, laughs, drinks, and good times with my work buddies.   Putting on these shows is kinda like camp– you bond instantly with your co-workers.  Except it’s really hard work and we’re all tired and cranky.  But at the end of the day, it’s nice to have a good group of people to commiserate with!

 

San Francisco Stories, Part 1

It’s been a week since I left San Fransisco and I’m just now getting around to posting the pics/blog.   Thankfully, I have Twitter to remind me what I did!    I’ll split it into two posts to make it more readable.  Without further adieu…

Tuesday– Travel and Twin Spotting

We made it to San Fran without any problems.  Checked into the hotel, had a late lunch, and walked around a bit.  We saw a street performer with a pet rat and a pet cat but, alas, no photos exist.  It’s too bad, really, ‘cuz it was quite the sight.

We were able to get a (pretty crappy) photo of the Brown Twins, though. They’re living San Francisco landmarks– twin sisters who dress alike and frequent Nob Hill eateries.   We didn’t even know about them until later, but I was able to snap this (bad) picture of them. On this day, they were dressed in leopard-print jackets and cowboy hats.  Pimp!

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Wednesday– Set up (Sorta), Eye-Talian, and Tiki

The first day of work was a logistical nightmare.   Due to union restrictions,  we ended up watching other people do the work until about 5:00 then we unpacked our booth.  I’m a strong supporter of unions, but even my resolve was tested.  In the end, it worked out fine, but it sure was frustrating!    

The end result of 8 hours of union labor and 1.5 hours of ours!

The end result of 8 hours of union labor and an hour and a half of ours!

We then set out for dinner.  As you may recall, dinners out are the highlight of my work trips and Kurt had heard of this Italian place called Cafe Tiramisu.  It was 8 short blocks from the hotel, which was a welcome change from sitting on my a$$ all day.  Unfortunately, we got a little lost and the 8 blocks ended up being much longer– and often uphill.  

Once we made it to the restaurant, it was worth it.  The waiter called us kids, there were hilarious misspellings on the menu (which became somewhat of a theme–see below) and the food was pretty good.  I got the quail, which was good, but reminded me how much I hate to eat meat off of bones:

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Good. But lots of bones.

The highlight of the evening, however, was the dessert.  We ordered the sampler for 3 and it didn’t disappoint– various types of gelato, sorbet, cakes, cannolis, biscotti, tiramisu (natch),  profiteroles, etc.   Even though it was billed as enough for 3 people, it was waaaayyy too much.  Apparently, they also had a pasta sampler, but we didn’t try it:

mmm...dessert!

mmm...dessert!

After dinner, we met a former co-worker, Jane (of Not So Plain Jane fame) out for drinks.  She took us to the Tonga Room, which was absolutely AWESOME!   It’s a Tiki-themed bar in the oh-so-fancy Fairmont hotel.  The drinks are strong, the dancing is hoppin’ and it made for a great people-watching experience. (Read Jane’s description here.) 

There was a couple making out on the dance floor, a guy in a white shirt with zero inhibitions and everyone was having a good time.  My only regret is that I didn’t get up and dance.  Andrew offered me free drinks for the rest of the trip, and I didn’t take it.   The Tonga Room is apparently closing soon, so I’m glad we got a chance to experience it.   

A few pics (a la Lisa):

My drink.  Can't remember the name. Tasted like a rum runner.

My drink. Can't remember the name. Tasted like a rum runner.

Kurt loooves his pirate drink (again, can't remember the name!)

Kurt loooves his drink, The Scorpion :)

Andrew's Mai Thai came in a super awesome plastic coconut

Andrew's Mai Thai came in a super awesome plastic coconut

And an umbrella!!

With an umbrella!!

For some dumb reason, I didn’t take any pictures of Jane, who was an awesome tour guide.  It was so much fun to get an “inside look” at San Francisco.  I’m so bummed we didn’t get to hang longer, but the Tonga Room was definitely one of the highlights of a super fun trip.  Thanks, Jane!!

——————————

Funny Menus

One of the recurring themes of this trip (in addition to “you did a GREAT job” and hiding my phone–very funny, boys!), was the number of funny things we read on menus.

At Cafe Tiramisu, they had HORRIBLE misspellings.   Chocoloate for chocolate, Yourgurt for yogurt, etc.   They also had a disclaimer at the bottom that said something like: ” We are not responsible for lost or stolen items.”  Which we thought was odd.

There was a disclaimer on another menu that essentially said:  “Kids are welcome.  Unless they are crying.  Then you need to remove them.”   We thought that was awesome!

TO BE CONTINUED . . . 

Interview with a Vampire-lover

I stole this idea from illini_girl, but it’s been a while since I’ve done one.  And I have so many random things to discuss.

Are you really too busy to blog?  What’s that all about?

Honestly, yes.  And no. It’s not that I’m too busy to blog. It’s that I’ve spent a lot of time away from the computer, so my blogging time has been limited.

Are you done with your regular Wednesday posts?  What about Foto Friday?

Yeah, I think I’m giving up Website/Wordy Wednesdays. It’s just too much of a commitment and I have kinda run out of things to talk about. I’ll keep Foto Friday, though.  But I gotta start taking more pix.  Seems like I have to dig through the archives more often than not these days.

Are you becoming a professional dog sitter?

I’m thinking about it.  Last week, I watched my mom’s two dogs-Desi and Lucy- at my house.   And this week I’ve been dog-sitting Knee at a friend’s house.  Thus, the lack of night-time Internet access.

Knee?  That’s an awfully strange name for a dog isn’t it?

Yeah, it’s short for Anfernee (you know… like Anfernee Hardaway, the bball player). But she’s the sweetest dog ever.  Oh, yeah, Knee’s a girl.

So, what’s up with this “re-training” of Roxie business?

I won’t bore you with the details, but basically Roxie has a “dominance” issue.  And she’s spoiled.  To help break her of this, I’m re-training her to sleep in her crate instead of in my bed.

What made you decide to do this?  How did you know what to do?

Well, the final straw was when Roxie scratched my friend in the face for getting too close to me.  But it really needed to be done.  

I did some research online and then I called into Afternoon Magazine on WILL FM.  They had experts on from the Dog Training Club of Champaign-Urbana.  You can listen to it online at http://will.illinois.edu/afternoonmagazine/monthly/2008/12/.  (Click on the Friday, December 5 archive. I’m at about minute 28 or so).  

They gave me some good advice, so I got a crate and started re-training  on a Monday.

How’s that working for you?

Continue reading

Foto Friday: Work Hard, Play Hard

 

Lisa & I, Nashville 2006

Lisa & I, Nashville 2006

Traveling for work is hard– long hours, stale Convention Center air, lots of “on” time, etc.  At the end of the day,though, we get a chance to relax and hang out with co-workers.   This photo was taken at the end of a super long day in Nashville two years ago.  Cheers!!

To All the Jobs I’ve Had Before

This week marks my seventh anniversary at work. It’s quite a milestone for me. Seven years is longer than I’ve done anything in my life… longer than any relationship I’ve ever had, longer than I attended college, longer than I’ve lived in my house.

I’ve learned a lot in these seven years—I’ve learned how to get up (almost) every morning and get to work on time. I’ve learned a lot about marketing in a non-profit, association environment and how to navigate office politics. I’ve worked with a lot of smart people and have come to appreciate and respect the increasingly difficult environment in which teachers teach and students learn.

Thinking back on what I’ve learned in my current job made me realize I’ve learned something from every job I’ve had including:

Field worker— Hands down the best job I ever had. I got a tan, hung out with my friends, and thought $400 was a TON of money. I learned important lessons about hard work and being dependable as well as all the words to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”

Waitress— I worked as a waitress at a buffet restaurant, so it was easy in some respects (not a lot of orders to remember) and hard in others (why should we tip you? I learned the importance of staying calm under pressure, smiling for tips and how to re-stock a salad bar. I also learned the tale-tell signs of bulimia, but that’s another story.

Temp office worker—Probably the best training for the “real world” I could’ve asked for. On summer and winter breaks in college, I worked as a temporary office worker, doing mostly clerical jobs. I had a couple of long-term assignments; one at a medical review organization and one in a law firm. Sure, I did my share of typing and filing and miscellaneous “grunt” work, but I learned a LOT of valuable lessons about office culture and politics as an “outsider” looking in.

Grocery store cashier—In addition to a fail-proof method for selling beer to my under aged friends, I learned to guess what people were making for dinner by the ingredients they bought. I also learned those little numbers on produce. I still know that 4017 is Granny Smith apples and bananas are 4011.

Telemarketer—I worked as a telemarketer in college, soliciting university alumni for donations. Since I wasn’t making collection calls or selling people stuff they didn’t want, it wasn’t as bad as I imagine some telemarketing jobs might be. The #1 thing I learned was how to build rapport. The more I could chit-chat with the alumni, the more likely they were to pledge to the University. To this day, I draw upon some of those skills when necessary. I’ve yet to receive one of these calls, however, even though I *guarantee* I would give.

Office cleaner— This definitely ranks as the least “glamorous” job I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. As long as I had the job finished by a certain time, I could come and go as I pleased. It made me realize, however, how trusting companies can be. Here I was, a 22-year-old college kid and I had the keys to EVERYTHING… Luckily, I’m a trustworthy type, and I’m sure the company was bonded, but STILL.

Real estate assistant—I think this may have started as part of a temp agency job, but it grew into one of the best jobs I’ve ever had… and one of my biggest professional regrets. I was the right-hand man (er..woman) to a really successful real-estate agent in the Bloomington-Normal area. I did all of the marketing for her and learned how to cultivate clients. I also royally screwed her over when I left… and learned a valuable lesson about not burning bridges.

I’ve had other odd jobs here and there, but what stands out the most at ALL the places I’ve worked are the people I’ve worked with. I’ve made and maintained friendships with LOTS of people I’ve worked with over the years… after all, if we’re going to spend a third of our lives at work, we might as well at least like the people we’re spending it with, right?

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

It’s hard to believe it’s already almost the end of July.  Summer always seems to fly by.  Most of my free time has been filled by the following:

  • Boot Camp– We started the second session of FitCamps4Chicks.  I can’t stress how much I’ve enjoyed these sessions.  The trainer, Bobbi, is great and the workouts are fun.
  • Biking– I started biking to work last week. I was only able to bike 3 days and I’ll probably only get 3 days in this week, but I’ve finally figured out my route and I’ve worked out a few kinks, so I’m excited to get back in the saddle.
  • Boat Trip– Our annual girls’ boat trip is next weekend.   This year we’re combining it with Kristi’s bachelorette party.  A day on the lake with my fave girls in the whole world.  Can’t beat it!
  • Work– well, it always takes up my time, but I’m nearing the end of a huge project and I can’t wait.  One more week and then vacation!
  • Pool– My friend Kim has been nice enough to let me use her pool all summer.  As a result, I actually have a bit of a tan.  It’s nice to not have to worry about being pasty white in July.

Here We Go, Again…

Goal: To blog every day this week (yes, I know it’s a holiday), starting with this Monday morning freewrite.

I got out of bed and had a million things running through my head: my review today, the work I need to get done, the laundry I didn’t fold. Then I took the dog for a walk. Ideas there, too… I even thought of a brilliant title for the blog I was going to write.

I get inside, give the dog a treat and open the computer. I remember that I need to check something for work. So I do… and get totally sidetracked. I’ve forgotten all the stuff I thought of first thing this morning and the witty blog title is gone. I guess this means I really should write FIRST THING in the morning. Like, before doing anything else.

Oh, and now I remember. The blog I was going to write was all about fear. It’s a recurring theme, but for some reason it’s not in my tag cloud. Maybe later.

I’ve also been thinking about different ways we can use the Web 2.0 technologies. Everyone is assuming we need to build everything into OUR site. Would it be so bad if we were simply a feature of another site? What if we developed a facebook app? Or simply a group? What if we used Ning to create our own social network instead of building it from the ground up? Could we use Yelp to get members to rate conference sessions? Journal articles?

I’m making it my personal duty to research these and make some reccomendations. I’m a user, after all… not a developer.

15 mins are up…

It’s been a while…

I haven’t done one of these freewrites for a while.  As usual, I have lots of stuff going through my head.

My dog has to have surgery.

I hope I’m making the right choice.

I  don’t have any money.

How did I manage to piss away my entire stimulus check without knowing it?  I

‘m trying to do some laundry. I need to clean. I have no plans for the long weekend.

There are countless unread books and unwatched movies at my house.

I’m bored at work.

I had a fun weekend, but I’m still not caught up on my sleep.

I’m having weird stomach issues.

I hate cold sores.

The dryer is buzzing.

I don’t want to go to work.

I’m annoyed by my coworkers.

My office is a mess.

I’m not smoking.

I’m probably drinking more.

My friend’s dad died, but I’m not sure the details yet.

I want to write a blog about why I heart Lost.

There were lots of inaccuracies in my last Lost blog.

I’ve had more interesting things to say before.

But I can’t seem to think of any now.

I don’t know how to fill up this 15 minutes.

So I’ll stop.

Permanent Adolescence

I’m not 100% sure where this post will take me, but I’ve had a bunch of thoughts running through my head the last few days and I feel the need to get them out.  Maybe I’ll edit it later.  Maybe not.

I wrote a list of “things to do with my life” on the plane the other day.  I couldn’t find a piece of paper so I found an ad in my magazine with the most amount of white space and just started furiously writing… curiously enough, the ad was for Ketel One vodka.  I’m sure that’s somehow significant.  If I can get to a scanner, I’ll post it.  Very interesting.

I don’t know what my problem is.  I’m not unhappy. I’m not depressed.  I’m not anxious.  I’m just, well, restless.  I feel like life is passing me by and that there has to be something more fun/exciting/INTERESTING to do.  But I don’t know what it is.

I feel like I’m in a permanent adolescence.  I keep WAITING for my life to start.  To “happen.”   I spent my high school years working towards getting into college.  In college, I spent time working towards getting a “good job”  in the “real world.”  Now that I have that, I want more.  But what, exactly, do I want?

A boyfriend?

A different job?

Kids?

I honestly don’t know.  I don’t think just another job/change of pace is going to be enough.  I feel like I need a whole different lifestyle.  A different ME.   Maybe that’s what it is… I’m bored with myself.

Ugh.  What a horrible thought.

I knew I was bored.  Lately I’ve been finding my work boring, my friends boring, even my “fun” boring… but have *I* become boring to myself as well?   And is there anything worse that boring YOURSELF?

I realize there are real problems in this world, but I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels waiting for something to happen to me.    Yeah, I have a lot of “fun.”  I have great friends, lots of plans… but am I using that just to bide my time?  Where is the meaning?

Lately I’ve been thinking I should go back to school. Become an academic.  I just think that world is better suited to me.  But I don’t have anything I like well enough to devote that much time to it.  Maybe my practicality is getting the better of me.

Then I think maybe I’ll follow my long-lost dream of joining the Peace Corps. It’s only 2 years.  But then WHAT?  Will I be 2 years “behind”?  Will what I gain from that experience make up for all that I’ll be missing here?

There’s that famous quote (maybe from Elanor Roosevelt?) about doing something every day that scares you.  Have I become so complacent that I’m not working with “the Fear” anymore?  What’s the worst that would happen to me?

I need an adventure. Something I can really sink my teeth into.  Not staining the fence or painting the garage.  Not going on a solo trip out East (although I’m seriously reconsidering that one at this point).  I need to do something meaningful… adventurous… interesting.

Do I sound like a broken record yet? It’s the same old thing… but I don’t know where to start. I guess the fact that there’s no “magic” answer is what’s killing me.  There’s no playbook.  No script.  I’ve been following the predetermined script of my life for so long, I don’t know how to get off.  I just mixed my metaphors.  But you know what I mean.

I sound like a whiny bitch.  I get it.  But maybe just recognizing the problem will bring me one step closer to solving it.  Whatever that means.

ATL: Day 1

The first day in Atlanta was a success. Our fight was fine. We made it to the hotel in time. We got a portion of the booth set up. Had a great dinner at La Tavola. Lasagna was the special tonight and I had a half order of it with a half order of the ravioli. The lasagna might have been the best I’ve ever had. Except my moms. It was obviously a very rich dish, but felt light on the palate. Wine was good. Appetizers were good. Dessert was good. Conversation was good. Kent slapped me on the back a couple of times. Weird.

I realized, again, how much I think I’m missing by not knowing about academia sooner. I think I would’ve made a wonderful academic. L said: “your next bf should be an academic” Screw the next bf, why can’t *I* be an academic? But what would I study? I’m not sure there’s ANYTHING I like enough to devote that kind of time to. At least not anything that would pay the bills.

I think that’s part of the problem though. When I went to college it was clear: you go to school so you can get a good job. No one told me that the “good job” could be at a university somewhere. My college experience prepared me for little more than a corporate job. What’s the academic challenge in that? Where is the pursuit of truth? Of new ideas? Of alternate perspectives?

I think my jealousy has just gotten the best of me. Once again, it seems as if everyone has led much more interesting, cultured, fulfilled lives than I have.